Judge recuses himself in Elon Musk case
The judge involved in Elon Musk's lawsuit against Media Matters for America has recused himself from the case.
Judge Mark Pittman filed the notice on Tuesday, requesting the clerk to assign the case to another judge.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 29, 2023
No reason given
"Pittman, who was appointed to his position by former President Trump, did not give a reason for stepping away, and it was not immediately clear why the request was made," the Hill reported.
"Federal judges are mandated to recuse themselves when their 'impartiality might reasonably be questioned,' including when they have a financial interest or personal bias," it added.
— The Epoch Times (Singapore) (@epochtimestoday) November 28, 2023
"It came as the latest development in what Mr. Musk calls a 'thermonuclear' lawsuit against Media Matters, a self-described media watchdog organization, in which lawyers for X argue that the non-profit 'knowingly and maliciously manufactured' images aimed to drive advertisers away from the platform. X filed the lawsuit filed on Nov. 20," the Epoch Times reported.
"The court clerk has reassigned the case to Judge Reed O'Connor, a Bush appointee, court filings entered Tuesday show," it continued.
— JohnQPrivate (@JohnQPrivado) November 28, 2023
A potential setback
"The company has alleged that MMFA manipulated its algorithms to produce its desired results with the intent of interfering with its business relations and scaring away advertisers," Just the News reported.
"Pittman's recusal could a potential be a setback for Musk's suit," it noted.
"Media Matters founder Angelo Carusone said the website stood by its report and called the lawsuit 'frivolous.' In a post on X, he wrote that the organization 'look[s] forward to winning in court,'" theDesk.net reported.
The change of judge may also be procedural. The case may not be heard in Texas but rather in San Francisco where X is located rather than in the previous judge's district.
The ongoing attention related to the trial is massive due to its implications for free speech that involved the owner of one of the largest social media platforms in a lawsuit with a media organization over alleged "malicious" statements against him. The coming week may continue to bring attention to the case as both sides dig in for battle over Musk's allegations against the organization.